A US Air Force Osprey crashed near Japan with 8 on board, the latest in a string of fatal accidents

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A US Air Force Osprey crashed near Japan with 8 on board, the latest in a string of fatal accidents
An MV-22 Osprey assault support aircraft departing off the flight deck of the USS Kearsarge on June 8 in the Baltic Sea.JONATHAN NACKSTRAND
  • At least one person was killed when a US Osprey aircraft crashed near Japan.
  • The aircraft, a plane-helicopter hybrid, was carrying eight people.
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At least one person has died after a US Osprey aircraft crashed off the coast of Japan on Wednesday, the latest in a string of fatal military accidents.

The Japanese coast guard said that the aircraft crashed around 2.47 p.m. local time near Yakushima island, off the south coast of Japan, according to Reuters.

The US Air Force Special Operations Command said there were eight people were on board. Earlier reports said there had been six people in the Osprey aircraft.

The US military had earlier requested an emergency landing at Kagoshima Airport, a Kagoshima prefectural official told CNN, with Japanese media reporting that the aircraft's engine appeared to be on fire before it crashed into the sea.

The Osprey can function as a helicopter or as a winged turboprop aircraft, and is designed for missions including combat support and special forces deployment.

But a series of crashes involving Osprey models have earned it the moniker "widow maker."

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  • In August, three US Marines were killed when an Osprey carrying 23 crashed in northern Australia.

  • In 2022, five US Marines were killed when an Osprey crashed during training exercises near Glamis, California.

  • In 2022, four US Marines were killed when an Osprey crashed during NATO training exercises in Norway.

  • In 2017, three US Marines were killed when an Osprey crashed attempting to land on a transport ship off Australia's northern coast.

In an article for The Quincy Institute, a US think tank, defense experts said that the Osprey suffered from persistent design flaws because their engines are so powerful they kick up dust on take-off and landing causing engine failures.

"In 2019, the Department of Defense Inspector General (IG) reported that the Osprey remains at risk of engine failure. Over nine years of attempts to redesign the Navy version of the aircraft and to prevent engine ingestion of natural materials have failed," experts wrote.

Editor's note, November 29, 2023: This article has been updated to reflect new information from the US Air Force Special Operations Command that eight people were on board the Osprey aircraft that crashed in Japan.

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